Galapagos Islands History
The Galápagos Islands, located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, have a storied history that is as captivating as their unique biodiversity. Discovered by chance in 1535 by the Bishop of Panama, Tomás de Berlanga, the islands were initially considered a desolate and inhospitable place. Their remote location made them a popular stopover for pirates and whalers during the 17th and 18th centuries.
It was not until the 19th century that the Galápagos gained scientific significance. Charles Darwin’s famous voyage aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835 allowed him to study the islands’ wildlife, leading to groundbreaking insights on evolution and natural selection. The islands later served as a strategic location for a U.S. military base during World War II.
In 1959, the Ecuadorian government declared the Galápagos Islands a national park, and later a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, they are renowned for their pristine ecosystems and endemic species, drawing scientists and nature enthusiasts from around the world. The Galápagos Islands continue to be a living laboratory for the study of evolution and a testament to the importance of conservation efforts.